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DaveB last won the day on November 10 2020

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  • Birthday 07/28/1948

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  1. There's a few hundred miliion people being vaccinated with extremely small instances of adverse reaction. There's ivermectine which has a "hey, try this" following. So...on one hand, free vaccine with a track record...on the other hand someting else that "might be helpful". Seems to me with the effort to go get some ivermectine you could just go get vaccinated and not worry about it. Why bother with ivermectine? Just because you can...maybe?
  2. Some info from an old curmudgeon: when I was a kid in the 50s (yep...I'm OLD), I lined up in the cafeteria at school with every other kid in the school and got a MANDATORY smallpox vaccination, polio shot, and a measles and mumps shot. Wasn't any noise about rights or other whining - get it or leave school. That's it. Now, my parents were the generation that had just gone through WWII...during which there was a MANDATORY draft and there was MADATORY food and gas rationing. They took that in stride the same reason they took the vaccines in stride - a sense that they have a greater obligation to the country as a whole, and it trumps individual focus. As a reslult - no more smallpox, no more polio, and measels was rare until people started listening to a bizarre misinformation campaign about the vaccine causing autism...and lo and behold, up popped new measels out breaks. A nice study in cause and effect. I think COVID is around forever. The basic mask and social distance stuff is classic deterrent to infection going back over 100 years. See the masks in Spanish Flu phots? There's a reason doctors wear masks in surgery. Is it 100% effective? Nope...nothing human related ever is. But it behooves us to do it to try and minimize the impacts as much as possible. Even the best vaccines are 5% ineffective, so for some folks it ain't gonna work. But the rest can drive down the spread a lot and cut off the human petri dish the virus thrives in. If you refuse to get it for whatever reason - then Darwin was right and the gene pool will benefit ultimately. But it is the height of arrogance and selfishness to seque into the follow on thought that because you don't want to take measures, neither should anyone else, and it is your "right" to run around and potentially infect everyone else. As for lock downs...I don't think anyone believes they will eradicate the disease. I think governments are really focused on keeping the number of inevitble infections low enough that the medical infrastructure doesn't get completely overwhelmed. Kind of a nasty thought to show up at a hospital with a heart problem and get told all the beds are full with COVID patients. I'm really tired of Philippine sudden knee jerk reactions and ultimate lockdowns and travel restrictions - but I'm sympathetic. It just wouldn't take much to completely blow away the entire country's medical complex and since they can't afford a population's worth of vaccine, they are stressing the old fallbacks. I suspect some day they will get to the point where vaccinations are finally dispersed to enough people to remove that threat, even if there are still some people getting sick, and they'll then lift a lot of restrictions. But not being one of the "rich countries", they are ways off before they get there.
  3. I'd agree, but I'm kinda stuck with an extra urgency. My current lease expires in November. We want to find our final nest...which means first going to some places we're really interested in to see if we want to actually live there. Morong, from afar, seems to be a potential excellent match to what we're seeking, so we need to get there in the next month or so and decide if it is. If so, we need to then home in on the area and look to buy a house, or whatever. So we're pushing through the travel fiascos to see if we can make that happen. We have some "plan B" stuff lined up - like just lease for another year and build a house, and if we ultimately don't find a geographical area we like more than Angeles City, we'll just stay in Angeles City. Got a lot of "plan A" vs. "plan B and C" going on right now. So...travel restrictions are just another part of a larger tap dance.
  4. To close out this thread, I still haven't made it to Morong. We went in for the COVID tests and, as I think I mentioned in a different post thread, damned if my maid didn't come up positive. Totally asymptomatic, but they slapped her in a quarantine hotel for two weeks, and my wife and I had to home quarantine. (Still wondering if it was a false positive). By the time that was all over, Bataan closed down due to Delta variant tremors, and has been closed ever since. Hoping it opens up on Aug 1, but thus far they keep extending it for two weeks at a time - with the usual 24 hour notice that seems to plague Filipino decision making. So...still sitting tight. Mariveles got designated a COVID hot spot last week, so not sure how much that is going to ripple up and down the peninsula.
  5. My maid felt it as a vibration here in Angeles City - but I'm retired, I don't wake up that early for anything any more.
  6. I get their routine clinic news emails and have been tracking this topic for a while. Everything up to now had been, to paraphrase, "when we get all vets enrolled with the clinic, we will move on to all other vets, and when that is done, we'll move on to dependents and care givers". This always has had the observation that they think it will be several months before they can get to dependents. Last Thursday they sent out an email and, surprise, now open to dependents. It contained a form to fill out and advice to message it on EVets, or return email it or fax it. I sent it in via an email reply, and then started to log into eVets to send it that way, too, just to cover the bases. I didn't finish logging on to eVets and there was already a lady on the phone talking to my wife about setting up an Appointment on Sunday...took them like 3 minutes to respond to my email. So wife got her vaccination on Sunday. They are currently going 7 days a week. They recommend going there on Saturday and Sunday as the traffic is better, and their regular shift resources are more freed up. You can call as noted in this discussion string, or...if you don't mind waiting...you can do a walk in. It's running very efficiently and well-organized. People with appointments, which are in 15 minute blocks, are lined up every 15 minutes outside the security door and they file in. As it goes, if an appointment block isn't completely filled, they pull in some walk ins. All people with appointments are on a list and they check you off on the way in. All walk ins are given a number and just hang loose outside until those numbers are called. At the end of the day, it's all walk ins for the last appointment blocks. As a matter of comparison: my maid was in the tier one category for the barangay due to age, so my wife registered her for an appointment. She got one a couple weeks ago. It was a 4 hour fandango with medical screenings and paperwork and occasional jerks crashing the line. Big mob in on place with an ongoing overlay of confusion. Very Filipino, in other words. The VA hopes to do 300 a day on week ends, and less (I think 100) on week days. When I got my vaccination, early on as a registered patient (back in May), it was Phizer and I had to do 2 trips. When they ordered their second batch of vaccine, they opted for Johnson and Johnson so it was a one shot deal and no need to go all the way back to Manila for a second shot.
  7. I guess I'm now officially living in the Philippines...got my ACR card today. For those who like to keep score on such things, here's the time line: Dec 15 - submitted combined application for 13A and ACR card Jan 28 - on the approved Agenda posting for that date May 5 - got my Provisional (one year) 13A stamped into my passport July 6 - got my ACR card. In case you're wondering, none of this relates to impacts from submitting at a regional BI office (in Angeles City) vs. submitting at BI "central" in Intramuros. From simple personal reading, it seems like the regional offices are a LOT less crowded and easier to work with. But ultimately, every thing that everyone does ends up going to the central BI world for approval and processing. If you ever look at one of the approved agenda spreadsheets (available on the BI website), you see every two weeks there are hundreds of pages of applicants for every agenda, country-wide. That's a monstrous backlog going through one constrained bottle neck. So...gotta have faith. As noted in some other posts, it is almost impossible to track a specific request (i.e., yours) from submission to completion. If you haven't been rejected, then you are probably still in process...somewhere...hang in there.
  8. When I wrote that question yesterday, I was actually thinking of Jack. He gave me his card when I was there last November, but I've lost track of it. So I Googled it this morning and I see his contact info. Weird that the process is a snail mail show, and no online submission. I can file a claim for disability on line - wonder why the FMP requires hard copy. Anyway, I had planned to join the RAO if I ever resolve how (if) to live in Bataan, Real admirable guy (Jack) and real admirable organization. It's worth donating to even if you aren't a member. So I'll head down that happy path. I was hoping for something like a URL that I couldn't find...but after enough exposure to the VA, you kinda get used to everything taking 6 months.
  9. I"m a Vet with disabilities and already enrolled in both FMP and with the VA Clinic in Manila. I have a medical reimbursement claim I'd like to submit to FMP for service related injury medical care. I'm having a deuce of a time figuring out how to make the request. All I'm getting off the websites and the printed pubs is "mail your claim to the VA". Haven't seen anything like a claim form (like I see with Tricare, for example). If it's just a matter of pulling together a cover letter and the receipts, I can do that, but using the Philippine postal system for anything gives me the willies. Is there any guidance to be gained by calling the VA clinic in Manila? Just looking for some general advice on how to get this thing off the ground. Surprised (so far) I'm not seeing any online submission instructions.
  10. Trash, or the lack thereof, is a characteristic of various locales in the Philippines. I started picking up on it without really thinking about it. But I'd be some place, or see some new place on TV, and if there was no trash on the sidewalk, that fact would almost jump up right in my face. For example...Kolebo is a pretty trash free town...from what I can see so far, so is Balanga. Some barangays here in Angeles City are very tidy. It's all a matter of what the local culture goes with. In the Provinces I see more trash randomly piled up because, frankly, where else is it gonna go? But there's a difference between using the local trash pile and trash being every where, wherever someone drops something. In the cities, and noticeably in the rivers that flow through them, flat surfaces, wet and dry, look like breeding grounds for pestilence - but there's a lot of really nice, clean rivers out there in the hinterlands. I think it all harkens back to the day when the average Filipino didn't own much that wasn't bio-degradable It's one thing to throw out a plastic bottle. It's something else to through out a bamboo section that you were using for a cup. The culture still seems to be still in a bit of transition on the topic. By nature, Filipinos seem to be neat and tidy people, but they are also fanatically practical. Trash is something you get rid of, any way you can, and you get on about trying to figure out how to get through the day. Some "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" at work there.
  11. Come back when we are out of this silly quarantine. I offered to buy you lunch once upon a time - time to pay up. Check out Mt Arayat National Park. It doesn't look like they have actual places to stay, but it might be a cool side trip. Looks like a great swimming area with very nice grounds and gardens.
  12. Along those lines...I forgot one other schizophrenic event: I mentioned our two proposed house-sitter relatives had to home quarantine with us (and are still here)...and they had to get a COVID test. They got that COVID test yesterday, five days after all the hoopla. They got it by having to go to Mabalacat, where they live - on the other side of the Clark Freeport zone from my house. They got there by taking a taxi. Then they hung around a site with a bunch of other people getting tested. Then they took a cab back. Apparently if you are traveling and hanging around with good intentions, COVID doesn't attack you. That age window - 18 to 65 - reared its head on our Morong planning. Originally I was told that, being older than 65, the resort wouldn't check me in. When I told them I was vaccinated, and after some off-line discussions with their boss, they said I could come as long as I had the vax card. Like I said, I'm still a little leary as to just how much that marries up with the Bataan checkpoint expectations. Only one way to find out... Anyway...strange that you mentioned looking for a water resort up here. My wife and I this afternoon went on U-Tube and were looking for info on a couple of those. We had been looking forward to some beach resort time in Morong. We decided, since that fell through, maybe when we get out of quarantine and Lucy gets home we'll go hang out at a water park or something for the day. Let me know if you head up to one. Maybe we'll get a day pass and meet ya for a beer.
  13. A quick follow up on this observation from OnMyWay. We're all aware that Filipinos are dug-in, and absolutely, medical establishment adverse. It was another element of why Lucy was so frightened. My personal thoughts on the fear are based on my belief that the average Filipino simply hasn't the money to deal with professional medical care. So they fall back on cultural cures and prayer. When they have some ailment that is beyond those cares, they get pretty bad off, and ultimately bad enough to go to the medical community - and by then, it's often just too late. So, a sentiment still repeated by my wife (despite her 30 years in the US): hospitals are where you go to die. Anyway...if it's ever needed to help convince someone to get COVID care: the government picks up the cost all the way through...tests, quarantine, follow on doctor visits along the way (Lucy gets visited every other day and can get a doctor by just asking for one). We incurred the extra cost because I elected to have her stay in a hotel instead of a hospital ward. So...other than perhaps the initial ER visit cost to get diagnosed with COVID in the first place, the government has a process - which works despite its quirks - and anything they demand to be done, they are willing pay for.
  14. So...here's a tale from the trenches in the COVID struggles...and how it all spins off in one weird direction if you come up positive on a PCR test. I went through the long and often confusing experience of chasing down travel requirements to go Bataan, specifically Morong, and see if we want to go live there. Among the list of things needed to get through the Province checkpoint and enrolled in a resort: a PCR COVID test (nasal swab job) no more than 48 hours old. So I needed this for me, my wife, and my "maid" who was going with us ("Maid" is in quotes because, though she does all the usual maid/cook things, she's actually a cousin of my wife's and part of the family - more like a member of my household, so "maid" is kind of misleading). I elected to go to Medical City Clark for the tests. More expensive, but also done in a more professional manner that gave me more confidence. I've heard too many stories about weird episodes with some of the "fly by night" opportunists running test labs these days. I wanted to make sure I had a good, timely result so no hassles at the checkpoints. I should mention that I'm also already vaccinated (Phizer via the VA), and was "told" by the resort I didn't need the COVID test if I had the vax card - but as usual, it's dicey to believe one source's opinion when you don't know what the other is going to do. So I got the COVID test anyway, just in case there was a hassle with some uninformed or over zealous checkpoint guard. The night of the test, the results come back. My wife and I are negative, but my "maid" Lucy is positive. Very weird She's totally asymptomatic, and she and my wife do everything together including sitting in taxis and trikes and shopping and watching TV on the couch. I began to suspect a "false positive", but by then we're stuck with the results. I was pretty sure they were going to be reported to the COVID police and I expected those guys to show up the next day. I figured if there was any room for discussion, I could engage that when they got there. Well...they showed up 2 days later. Part one of the schizophrenic approach to COVID: very big deal someone is positive, very big concern over that someone spreading the disease, so let's get right on it - 48 hours from now. By the time they got here, Lucy could have killed half the subdivision, if she was a real threat. I already knew mandatory quarantine was coming. Turned out, they gave her a choice of staying 2 weeks in a hospital ward - and government pays the cost; or two weeks in a contracted quarantine hotel - and we pay P1000 per night for room and meals. I opted to go with the hotel. The poor lady is a classic 62 year old Filipina, had a hard scrabble life, raised a son by herself, and was scared to the point of tears. Had never been away from her family or stayed in a hotel before (we had to text her about how to call room service). No way was I sticking her on a hospital ward. Then, to top it off, they showed up with a van, with red lights flashing, and a driver in a full hazmat suit. Scared her all the more. And keep in mind - this is like 48 hours after the positive test. It was like "wait for it...wait for it...Ok...NOW - panic, emergency!!!" Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there was a weird discussion over what my wife and I are going to be required to do. I provided our negative COVID test results, and I provided my vaccine card. At that point a drawn out discussion ensued that involved a couple rounds of phone calls with medical professionals. First decision: no quarantine needed for either of us. Makes sense, that. Then...well...actually, you need to do a 14 day quarantine in your house. Now that one baffles the hell out of me. In addition, I had a couple other family members here the day before we were going to leave - they were going to stay in the house while we were gone and be "house sitters". The health crew determined that they, too, needed to do a 14 day house quarantine, but they were set up to get COVID tests - five days later. Again, a weird sense of urgency traded off against a Filipino sense of timing. Not sure what the hell is going to happen if one of them posts positive - though I think the odds are real, real slim that is going to happen. I'm still puzzled as to why, under the starting conditions, they didn't opt to retest Lucy to double check that positive test result. Final activity. Late in the day a couple guys show up to disinfect the house. They had a portable sprayer. They wandered about the house doing a token nozzle spray in every room - and I do mean "token". I was concerned they'd spray the place down like an exterminator going after termites. Instead, they'd wave the wand around a time or two, and perhaps actually put disinfectant on about 10% of any given surface. In the long run, that was a lot less disruptive and glad of it - but I do have to wonder: what was the point of all that? I'll finish by reinforcing my ongoing observation: thus far, vaccination seems to be such a novel thing that the bulk of the Philippine governmental machinations just don't quite know what to do with someone that's been inoculated. The resort I was talking to had to go off and discuss it. The Bataan Tourist bureau passed on making any ruling. The COVID police were completely baffled - like they'd never encountered such a thing (vaccinations are just getting off the ground here in Angeles City - just working through the top tier of elderly and first responders right now). I fully expect, perhaps by end of summer, they'll finally get some rules in place affecting both living in the Philippines with a vaccine, and entering the Philippines with a vaccine card of some kind. Until then, it's a matter of covering your ass best as you can and prepare for the inevitable confusion.
  15. VA Manila has been working down a set of categories, starting early in May. Their primary first focus has been for Vets who are enrolled with the VA Clinic in Manila for medical care...which is a round about way of saying vets with service related injuries, since that is their primary care audience. 1st layer, health workers, Vets over 75, vets with certain extra danger indicators like spinal care patients. This layer seems to have been completed early in May, as I'm in the second layer and ended up with an appointment early in May 2nd layer. Can't remember - might have been above age 65 - all I know is I got an appointment and I'm 72. I had previously signed up to be notified. They called me and arranged for the day to come in for the first shot (Phizer), and then scheduled me for the second on May 17. Meanwhile, as of yesterday, here is the advisory they sent out. (sorry the links don't work, but hoping you can load them into a browser.) COVID-19 VACCINATIONS UPDATES: VA Manila is reaching the end of our very successful first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations. By tomorrow, Saturday, May 29, 2021, the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic will have vaccinated approximately 20% of the enrolled Veteran population at the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic, all in just the last six weeks. This has been a tremendous undertaking and would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of the VA Manila’s superb pharmacy, physician, nursing, and administrative staff. They have worked tirelessly to schedule vaccine appointments, administer vaccines, and ensure that every possible dose of vaccine that we had was able to be used. VA Manila is currently working with VA leadership in Washington, DC to coordinate the shipment and delivery of a second batch of COVID-19 vaccines. While we do not yet have a confirmed date for delivery, we are actively planning and intend to administer vaccines as quickly and safely as possible once the next shipment is received. For the second shipment, the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic is requesting the Janssen / Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine. This is a one-dose vaccine option is preferred by our Veteran population in the Philippines who need to travel to Manila to receive the vaccine. Being able to complete their COVID-19 vaccination with just one visit to the Clinic, rather than two, allows us to vaccinate twice as many people as compared to a vaccine option which requires a second dose (such as Pfizer-BioNTech). The Janssen / J&J vaccine has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by both the United States and Philippines Food and Drug Administration, respectively, and is considered highly safe and effective. Links to the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine fact sheet are provided below: Janssen COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet: FDA Janssen COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet (PDF) FDA Janssen COVID-19 vaccine fact sheets in more languages (including Tagalog) When the second vaccine delivery arrives, the Clinic will still focus our vaccination efforts on our enrolled Veteran population. Until VA Manila has been able to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to all enrolled Veterans who currently receive medical benefits at the Outpatient Clinic, we will not be able to expand vaccination efforts to non-enrolled Veterans or spouses and caregivers. The SAVE LIVES Act, HR 1276, which authorizes VA to provide vaccines to all Veterans, and spouses/caregivers, requires that VA prioritize enrolled Veterans ahead of all other groups in the absence of a readily available supply of vaccines. We have received a significant number of requests from non-enrolled Veterans, spouses, and caregivers who have expressed interest in receiving a vaccine from VA Manila. At this time, VA Manila is unable to provide an estimate of when the Clinic may be able to begin vaccinating these individuals, but it will likely be at least several more months. Non-enrolled Veterans, spouses, and caregivers may wish to consider receiving a COVID-19 vaccine from any available source that is offered to you, including your local barangay, municipality, or provincial government or health department. As more vaccine supply is received by the Philippines, this may be a faster option to ensure you receive a vaccine and are protected from COVID-19. The best vaccine you can receive is the one that can get into your arm. How to Let VA Manila Know You Want a Vaccine? VA Manila has put two new processes in place for Veterans to use to notify VA that they would like to receive a vaccine. These processes are different depending on your enrollment status with VA. Enrolled Veterans who have used VA Healthcare services in the past can register their intent to be vaccinated online by following the steps below in part A. Non-enrolled Veterans, Spouses, and Caregivers can register by sending an email as outlined below in part B. A. Enrolled Veterans in VA Healthcare Services: You can register and let VA know you would like to get a vaccine from VA Manila online at VA's COVID-19 Vaccination Website (https://www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/). Please use Zip Code 96517 when completing this form. This will direct your online submission to VA Manila, where we will use it to contact enrolled Veterans when it is your turn to receive your vaccine appointment. Please complete the form as you normally would otherwise, ensuring your email and telephone numbers are accurate. We will use these as the two primary ways VA Manila will reach you when it’s your turn to be vaccinated. B. Non-Enrolled Veterans, and Spouses / Caregivers: Once VA Manila has had an opportunity to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to all enrolled Veterans at VA Manila, if we have enough vaccine available, we intend to offer vaccines to all US Veterans in the Philippines. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 US Veterans live in the Philippines, so this is a large cohort of Veterans. It is unlikely that VA Manila will be able to start vaccinating individuals in these groups for several months, if not longer. But while you wait, please follow the process below and let VA know you would like to receive a vaccine. We can use this information to help us with planning and to know you’d like a vaccine. You can let VA Manila know that you’d like a COVID-19 Vaccine if you are a non-Enrolled Veteran, a Spouse or Caregiver of a Veteran, and would like a vaccine. To do this, please send an email to: [email protected] Please use the following subject line in your email: “Non-Enrolled Veteran / Spouse / Caregiver Vaccine Intent” In the body of your email, include the following information: Name, Date of Birth, Last 4 of Social Security Number (if a spouse/caregiver of a Veteran): Veteran’s Name, Date of Birth, Last 4 of Social Security Number (if applicable) Local Address (full street, barangay, city, province, postal code). Local Phone Number and Email Address Include a statement that you want to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, and are you willing to travel to VA Manila in Pasay City to receive the vaccine. When you send a message to this information, a member of the VA Manila staff will compile your information into a secured database and maintain the information on file. When VA Manila receives enough vaccines to offer a shot to all enrolled Veterans, we will begin to contact non-Veterans in priority order based on age. VA Manila will maintain this information and contact Veterans with additional information about when a COVID-19 vaccine may be available for them from the Outpatient Clinic. After non-enrolled Veterans, if any supplies are remaining, we can offer them to spouses and caregivers. You can also email [email protected] if you have any questions or need additional information about VA Manila’s vaccination efforts. This email box will be reviewed by several individuals and our goal is to respond to all questions within 3 business days. Veterans who are active patients should use Secure Messenger within MyHealtheVet to communicate with their care team.
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